By Dave Andrusko
To many members of the “prestige” media, Jon Stewart, former the faux-anchor of the faux-news program, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” is a kind of sage. He can say with humor what journalists (supposedly) without an agenda can’t say. (That’s a complete myth, but let’s talk about that another time.)
So when Stewart not-so-politely pointed out in a recent podcast with David Axelrod– President Obama’s chief political strategist in his first election and later counselor–that pro-abortion Hillary Clinton is lacking some of the rudimentary skills needed to run a successful presidential campaign, it stirred some ripples.
I heard about the kerfuffle when I read the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza story about it–“Jon Stewart perfectly diagnosed the problem with Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.”
By way of placing Stewart’s remarks in context, while stipulating that Clinton will be the Democrats’ presidential nominee, Cillizza drily noted
But Clinton’s path to that nomination has been far rockier than she or her supporters expected it to be when Bernie Sanders emerged as her main competition. (Don’t believe the Clinton spin that they always knew that the 74-year-old democratic socialist from Vermont was going to pose a major threat to her candidacy.)
Stewart’s contribution was to authenticate what anyone who has watched Mrs. Clinton over the past 25 years already knows. Does she have the courage of her convictions, or, as Stewart asked rhetorically, does she even have any convictions?
And is she (to borrow a cliché but a telling one) “authentic”? Is there any there, there? Is there a “real person” (to quote Stewart) underneath? Maybe not, he concluded.
Cillizza then added his two-cents worth. After praising her up and down as a policy wonk/debater, he notes
And yet, when she is out on the campaign trail, the word that most often comes to mind for Clinton is “clunky.” Or “formulaic.” “Guarded.” Inauthentic.” “Rehearsed.” You get the idea. If connecting is the coin of the realm in politics, Clinton doesn’t have much money in her pocket
While Clinton’s closest allies insist she is warm and funny in private, the candidate has never been able to translate those character traits into her public persona. People want Hillary Clinton, but all they ever get is “Hillary Clinton.”
Then, having tip-toed up near the truth, the obligatory excuse from Cillizza
That’s somewhat understandable, given that Clinton has not only been in the public eye for three decades but has also been the focus of Republican attacks for much of that time. Clinton fundamentally distrusts many of the actors in the political world — including the media — which makes it tough for her to show her true self.
Which misses the point entirely on two counts. First, the Clintons have more scandals in their closets than the human body has bones. Were the “media” one-quarter as hard on Hillary (or Bill) Clinton as they always are on Republican presidential candidates, politically speaking, they would have vanished without a bubble.
Second, it begs the question Stewart raised: other then getting elected because it is “her turn,” what is the rationale for her candidacy?
There is none, which is why her approval ratings are abysmal and why many, many voters do not believe she has the basic honesty and leadership qualities to be President.